Tips for Setting up a Live Stream

Tips for planning a live stream

Tips for planning a live stream

In this presentation, we will share our own experiences in this area, and plans for our next big event! Einstein once said: When given a life or death problem to solve in 60 minutes, he would spend 30 minutes analyzing the problem, 20 minutes planning, and 10 minutes executing the solution. Planning out a live streaming event can be a difficult task and we always break it up into multiple groups. First of all, the event itself requires planning. Hopefully, this is taken care of for you and your responsibilities only involve setting up the live streaming and recording technology. Next, we recommend getting together your technology plan and equipment list. We have our checklist included below for which you can also download at https://streamgeeks.us/checklist.

Download a PDF Version here

Credit to Streaming Idiots and PTZOptics Facebook Group Members linked below!

  1. Planning
    1. Site Survey
      1. Google Earth the Site Survey – Scott Pienta
      2. Draw a map of your camera placement – JP Erbricella
      3. Circle any connections and what they are. Double check all your cables and connectors with this map.
      4. Make sure every element is covered including Tripods, cables, power supplies and stands.
      5. Map out the video then map out audio
      6. Create a checklist to strike out all the components once they have been packed. – Ted Langdell
    2. Set up live show layout
      1. This includes everything software related to your show. Prepare a manageable set of video assets which can include: intro video, titles, additional video sources, media and other content.
    3. Power
      1. Where is your power source? Can you get a clean power source independent from the lighting and sound grids? – Sheldon Hatch
    4. Cabling
      1. Any cables longer than 50 feet can go onto spools for easy in and out rigging. This applies to ethernet, power and audio. – Ken Benedict
    5. Extra Equipment
      1. Always bring flashlights if the production is going to last into the night
      2. Bring Gaff Tape to tape down cables. Yellow tapes is used for high traffic areas and black is for everything else. – Ken Benedict
    6. Weather
      1. Consider bringing trash bags or tarps to cover your valuable equipment if the
    7. Show run through with Talent
      1. Uncover any technical issues and prepare your team with a show walkthrough
  2. Tuning your Equipment
    1. Lights – Before you start tuning your camera (if needed) make sure all the lighting you are planning to use is on and ready for action.
    2. Camera – Tune you camera to provide a good contrast, luminance, saturation and hue for your room. If you are using a Green Screen with a chroma key background pay special attention to hues and contrast. Your goal is to provide a rich image with strong white and blacks with a wide range of accurately represented colors.
      1. White Balance: Start with an auto-white balance. This can be done by holding up a white piece of paper and selecting the “one push” white balance feature in any PTZOptics cameras on screen display menu. NOTE: Some software solutions also offer a white balance feature. It’s best practice to tune the image in your camera before tuning with your software.
      2. Focus: Obviously you want your talent to be in focus but consider whether you actually need to have auto-focus on. If your talent is not going to be moving from their chair your best choice is manual focus. Setting the appropriate focus manually can avoid unintended camera auto-focusing from hand movements and body gestures. If your talent will be moving around a stage or wide are your best choice is auto-focus. TIP: Avoid swivel chairs and suggest seating your talent on a stool or four-legged chair with a short back.
      3. Video Tutorial on Camera Exposures – 
    3. Microphones – Test your microphone prior to any event. Tuning may only need to be done periodically provided that the microphones are in use in a similar setting. You should hear a wide range of highs and lows. Check your audio meter and make sure your levels are in a safe range without peeking into the “red zone”.
    4. Green Screens – Using chroma key technology can challenging without good lighting and a reflecting green surface. Assuming you have an ideal green background, select the exact color your camera is outputting to your software with the color picker tool. You can now adjust your settings until you are happy with your chroma key. TIP 1: Using a dark background will help hide any stray pixelation.
  3. Hard Drive Space Check for Recording
    1. Are you going to be recording this live stream locally? Locally recorded quality is always better than the outbound live stream. Do you have enough hard drive space for the entire live broadcast? Are you going to have instant replay which uses up additional recording space?
    2. Start recording early! Better to start early than forget too late!
  4. Testing Bandwidth
    1. Test your bandwidth speeds with our free tool available at http://speed.ptzoptics.com
    2. Optimize your bandwidth and make suggestions for remote guests joining via a video conference call. Refer to our Live Streaming Bandwidth Checklist here: http://ptzoptics.com/landing/live-streaming.html
    3. Determine the maximum capabilities of your system and choose a video resolution and audio compression streaming configuration
    4. Don’t use WiFi if you can help it!
    5. Bring a back up a wireless 4G/5G router like the LiveU solo.
  5. Establishing your live stream
    1. Do a test stream
    2. Make sure to have your RTMP Server and key information ready. You will use this information to start streaming to your CDN (Content Delivery Network)
    3. It’s best practice to start your live stream at least 20-30 minutes before any event. During this time you should display a countdown timer and some type “Streaming Soon” display with background music. This time before your event is also ideal for giving viewers ample time for receiving automated notifications for your live show.
    4. Consider using your CDNs API. Custom RTMP streams will sometimes not include all the information networks like Facebook use to power their live streaming MAP for example.
  6. Social Media Integration
    1. Are you going to be integrating social media comments into your broadcast? Login to your accounts to pull this data.
    2. You can also use services like Zapier and Dropbox to automatically publish short clips/recordings during your broadcast to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This can drive additional traffic to your live event.
  7. Final testing
    1. Test your audio again, but this time listen to the stream as if you were a viewer. Live streams are known for introducing audio syncing issues without rhyme or reason randomly. The good news is that you can add an audio delay to compensate for this issue. If needed add 2000-3000 milliseconds (2-3 seconds) to your audio delay until all syncing issues have been ironed out.
  8. During your stream
    1. Keep an idea of your CPU usage. Generally, you do not want to go beyond 50-70%.
    2. Listen to the audience. Are they asking for a different video angle? Do they want to hear changes in the audio? You might be surprised how technical your audience is.
    3. During your stream, you may get notifications from your live streaming software about CPU usage. You should always turn off all other programs and disable windows updates.
    4. Mute your computers/cell phones…
  9. Channel Management
    1. Don’t forget to set up a reasonable “channel blacklist”. This feature will restrict a set of words from being displayed in the chat room.
    2. Don’t forget to have your live stream displayed in the “schedule” system. You can also configure settings in YouTube to promote your live event on other videos.
    3. Don’t forget to ask for subscribers and grow your channel during your live event when you everyone’s attention!
  10. General Tips
    1. Don’t forget to share your live show on social media
    2. Don’t forget to save time for Question and Answers from the chatroom. Best practice is reserve a time specifically for Q&A.
    3. The Outro – What are your business goals? Don’t forget to include a CTA (Call to Action) for your viewers… Is it a free eBook or an upcoming webinar? Maybe simply asking for a new subscriber!

ASSEMBLE/MEET WITH TEAM – PREPARE LISTS

Tech Setup Close Up

Tech Setup Close Up

As your event live video production becomes more complicated it is important to create teams that can work together. For our upcoming live event, we have four team members. We have two hosts, Paul and Tess. Paul will be the main host who will also operate some of the camera gear used for taking pictures and potentially operating the live streaming software we will be using for instant replay. Tess will be focusing on social media and ideally, have her mobile device or touchscreen tablet available for use with vMix Social to connect our social media to our live stream. Michael our usual producer will be taking video and pictures for our marketing commercial content and therefore we need a fourth person (our intern Brian) to operate the live streaming software.

Conclusion:

We have included some of our favorite checklists below plus a bunch of related content that you might find helpful. Hopefuly our notes will be of use to you during your setup.

  • TECH EQUIPMENT
  • NETWORKING CHECKLIST
  • EVENT CHECKLIST

TEAM TASKS

Assign responsibilities to team members before the event to organize tasks during. *Via Production Meetings

NETWORKING

Make certain your event location has an open broadcast network or private network with access past any firewalls.

Ensure proper bandwidth for streaming via testing and communication with event IT Manager

~Purchase Bandwidth

Equipment

Develop list of any nontechnical equipment necessary.

I.E:

  • ~ Tables
  • ~ Chairs
  • ~ Talent
  • ~  Tools
  • ~ Props
  • ~ Makeup

DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR LIST’S!!!

  • ~Make lists
  • ~Check lists
  • ~Check AGAIN!

HAVE BACKUP

  • ~Try to bring two of everything
  • ~Have backup plan
  • ~Test your equipment before you leave
  • ~BATTERIES

Social Media Platforms

  • ~Facebook
  • ~YouTube
  • ~Twitch

~EasyLive (Multiple Destinations)

Private Streaming

  • ~DaCast ~Password Protected Web Page
  • ~Stream Monkey    ~Private FB User Group
  • ~Private CDN

Learn more about the live streaming industry

  1. Here are the Top 10 most exciting announcements from the 2018 NAB Show – here
  2. Here are the Top 25 must see companies at the 2018 NAB Show – here

Live Show Engagement Tips

  1. Tips for Bringing Energy to your live show – here
  2. How to interview guests on your live show – here
  3. Transitioning from recorded video to live content – here
  4. Tips from 7 live streaming industry professionals – here
  5. 10 Steps to gaining more Facebook Live Viewers – here
  6. Here’s how you can add live Trivia to your broadcast – here
  7. The art of live storytelling from Ariel Viera – here.

Live Video Troubleshooting Tips

  1. Tips for troubleshooting your live show – here
  2. Here’s 10 tips for planning to live stream an event on location outside the studio – here
  3. Tips for setting up a live stream for marketing – here


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